So, I know that Sunday evenings are generally book reviews, but today I watched this brilliant film and I just have to write about it. It’s about Jane Austen, so it’s technically literature.
Becoming Jane is the not-so-fictional story of Jane Austen and her lover, if you like, Thomas Lefroy. It’s a story of love and loss, and how the class systems restrict the true followings of the heart.
Firstly, Jane. Played by Anne Hathaway (who I only discovered today is American), she is the feisty girl I have always imagined her to be. To begin with, I wasn’t sure about her voice, but it grew on me. Hathaway’s acting was great; she was intelligent (even learnt the piano for the part), and helped me to learn about Austen’s life. Furthermore, Hathaway was enthusiastic about the role, which really threaded itself into her acting; you believe in her emotions, the story, it feels like you’re living it yourself.
Second, Tom. Played by the stunningly gorgeous James McAvoy (ahem), Tom is an arrogant sod, basically, who, much like Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, changes as he falls in love with a beautiful girl. McAvoy’s acting was brilliant; he stayed in character, during the development of his character too, and his cheeky smile fit in perfectly.
Whilst I am unsure if it sticks to historical events of Austen’s, the plot is a typical romance. Not saying that it’s bad – in fact, it’s become one of my favourite films. It portrays the traditions of the time, the differences in attitudes, and how writers were perceived at the time (see: Mrs. Radcliffe). Rather different from now!
This film is a tear-jerker, especially if you know Jane’s tragically short life beforehand – or, indeed, after. Tom Lefroy was a name I had heard once or twice, in connection with Jane, but I had never thought of it much – she did not marry. But this film gives you historical context, background; it’s essentially a ‘faction’ film (fact and fiction).
Would I recommend this film? Yes, one hundred times yes. You will enjoy it, undoubtedly.
And if you ever have time, come to Hampshire. It’s where I live (hi!); it’s where Jane wrote much of her work, including Pride and Prejudice, and it’s where she, sadly, died, in Winchester; you can see the house in which she passed away and her grave in the Cathedral.
This isn’t a travel blog, but it’s really humbling to go to her house in Chawton, and her grave in Winchester, and is definitely worth the visit (and Hampshire’s great so y’know).
But if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and do some research into this awe-inspiring woman and her lover.
One last thought to end this review on:
Jane Austen is one of the greatest literary figures this world has ever seen and will probably never see again.